Overlooked Gems #1

Many of the best fly-fishing products don’t come from companies with large marketing budgets. Some of them are too small, and in some cases, the manufacturer may not realize its product is being used for fly fishing.
amnesiamono.jpgAmnesia monofilament first entered fly fishing as an early shooting-head running line. With low memory for coils (or strong memory for being straight), it was a logical choice. Later, Amnesia’s bright red colored lineup started being used by many fly shops for terminal loop-to-loop knots on the end of fly line. The color made it easier for sports to avoid drawing the leader knots into the tip-top guide (a common cause of rod breakage). I’m never without a spool of 20# red Amnesia for repairing line-to-leader connections in the field, even though most lines now come with factory loops.
Another overlooked item is the simple child’s water balloon. Guides in Utah first began using barely-inflated water balloons as indicators–their technique has now trickled out nationwide, even spawning expensive corporate copies. At $1 for dozens of balloons, you can’t beat the original. Literally unsinkable, they are perfect for nymphing with a spey system, because the spey cast puts a lot of torque on traditional indicators and can swamp or break them.
Do you have fly-fishing’s equivalent of Duck Tape in your gear bag? Let people know your ingenious solutions in the Comments section!

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  • Niki Christopher

    Tiny high-powered magnets are great!
    I have epoxied a couple of 1/4″ round high-powered magnets into my waist pack; one is glued inside the front of the pack, and is handy for parking a fly while my hands are busy doing something else; the other is glued right under where my hemostats hang from their zinger. The magnet keeps the hemostats from flopping around.
    I also repaired my net zinger with one of these magnets when the original magnet broke off during a trip.
    You can buy a package of these magnets for less than $5.00 at Harbor Freight or at craft stores stores. They look like watch batteries, and they are incredibly strong for their size.

  • Tim Arscott-Mills

    I learned the water balloon trick from a guide in Montana while fishing the Beaverhead. They work really well and seem to land more softly than most commercial indicators that try to imitate them. One note, to make the indicators as light as possible, you need to remove the rolled rib from the balloon opening. I cut them off with my nippers after inflating and tying off the balloon. I’ve had to chastise several buddies, with whom I’ve shared this trick, whose instinct was to cut off the rib and throw it in the river. If you use this approach, don’t pollute!